04 November 2008

Typographical Errors When Searching OCR Databases

It almost hurts my finger to spell my last name the way it is on this headline from 1912: Niell.

But it makes a point about searching on sites that perform OCR searches and do not allow for soundex based searches. The headline here comes from The Quincy Daily Journal on 20 March 1912. The obituary spells the last name as "Niell" consistently throughout the obituary. A soundex search would have caught this spelling error, but the site does not support soundex based searches. However the site does support a number of other options, some of which are shown in an additional image on this post.

These papers from Quincy, Illinois, are digitized and available at no charge through the website of the Quincy Public Library at http://archive.quincylibrary.org/.

How did I find it? I didn't search for "Niell" (although now I will). My search was actually conducted for "Rampley" another of my surnames. One of Samuel's daughters married a Rampley and that name appeared in the obituary. This makes the point that it is always an excellent idea to search for collateral names. Three of Samuel's children married Rampleys, including his son Charles (Charlie).